R.I.P., JAMES HUNT
Tucson lost another beloved local musician last week when James Hunt passed away on Sunday, Aug. 11, surrounded by family at home in Michigan.
Hunt, who had played drums for The AmoSphere for the last eight years, had been valiantly fighting inoperable pancreatic cancer. He had been the beneficiary of several benefit concerts, the most recent one at Chicago Bar on Friday, Aug. 2, where he performed with the band for the final time. The next day, driven by two friends, he made his final trek back to his Michigan home to be with family.
The band released this statement: "Thoughts of James ... The AmoSphere will forever remember James Hunt with that huge smile on his face. Playing drums, he lit the room up every time! Our musical brother dealt with his illness on his own terms, and his wish to make that final trip home came true, as he was able to pass at home surrounded by his loving family. Thank you to all that supported James. The three benefits we did for him and the PayPal link raised $10,000. He was able to go home to Michigan and bury his mother and be with his family right after his diagnosis ... he was able to afford medicine and help pay his high medical bills. He came back to play with his friends here as long as he could, and then make that trip home. The love and support that our Tucson music community showed James is testimony to the sweet generous hearts of all of you — we are all blessed. James 'you never have to Hunt for the beat' will always be in the pocket! Love from all of us in The AmoSphere!"
We wish his family and friends our sincerest condolences.
Late last month we told you about a huge one-day festival being put together by a group of intrepid organizers. Night of the Living Fest, featuring both national and local acts, is set to take place at Old Tucson Studios on Saturday, Nov. 2, the day prior to the All Souls Procession downtown.
On July 26, the organizers held an Announcement Party for the fest at Mercado San Agustin. There, they revealed the festival's location and showed a video that revealed 12 of the acts scheduled to perform: Deerhoof, Meat Puppets, Bebe McPhereson, Bob Log III, Nobunny, Acorn Bcorn, The Pork Torta, Vox Urbana, Tweak Bird, Ranch Ghost, Lonesome Shack, and Lenguas Largas.
This week, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, a second Announcement Party will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), 265 S. Church Ave. In addition to live music by Acorn Bcorn and Shit Ton, the second half of the 24 acts scheduled to perform at Night of the Living Fest will be announced; there will be a merch and info table with representatives answering questions and laying out opportunities to donate to, sponsor, or volunteer for the event; and explaining what VIP tickets and Fun Passes will get you. They will also be selling discounted tickets for the festival, which may be purchased for $25 (for general admission) through the end of August, after which they'll go up to $30.
For more info than you could ever need about the festival, head to nightofthelivingfest.com.
Night of the Living Fest isn't the only one-day music festival making news this week. On Monday, KFMA 92.1 FM announced the lineup for its annual KFMA's Fall Ball, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.
You'd think the radio station would want to put together an extra special lineup this year, considering it's the event's 10th anniversary. But unless you've been pulling a Rip Van Winkle since the days when Papa Roach ruled the charts, chances are you will be very disappointed. Nu-rockers (can we still call it that?) Korn, who had already slipped past relevancy (assuming they ever had any to begin with) when they last performed at Fall Ball only FOUR YEARS AGO, are the headliners, and the bulk of the remaining lineup doesn't look much better: A Day to Remember, P.O.D., Device (featuring David Draiman of Disturbed), Pierce the Veil, Asking Alexandria, Stars in Stereo, and American Fangs. I can't be the only one thinking that this is the shittiest lineup in the event's decade-long history.
But if crappy past lineups have taught us one thing about KFMA's Fall Ball, it's that teenagers will still show up in droves (as always, the show is open to all ages). If you plan on attending, you should pick up your tickets on Saturday, Aug. 17, when, starting at 10 a.m., all Tucson area Pizza Hut locations will be offering them for $25. After Saturday they'll be available at Pizza Hut and the offices of KFMA. For more information, head to kfma.com.
TUCSON'S EUROPEAN VACATION
At the beginning of this month, Carl Hanni wrote a feature article ("Tucson Goes to France," Aug. 1, 2013) about a bunch of local acts that were heading to Saint-Nazaire, France, to perform at Festival Les Escales. Nineteen Tucsonans in all — Brian Lopez, Tom Walbank, Gabriel Sullivan, and the collectives Chicha Dust and Mariachi Luz de Luna — made the trek and returned home this past weekend.
But they're not the only crew of Tucsonans performing in France this year.
Ever since French band the Little Rabbits came to Tucson in 1995, to make a record with local producer Jim Waters, Tucson and Nantes, the town in which Little Rabbits were based, have had a sort of ongoing, informal cultural exchange program.
In 2005, a bunch of Tucson acts made the trip to France for the inaugural "We Got Cactus Tour," which was followed in 2008 by a pack of Frenchies coming to Tucson for the 10-day "Some French Friends" festival. In October, five Tucson acts — Bob Log III, Acorn Bcorn, Otherly Love, Andrew Collberg, and The Pork Torta — will return to France for the second "We Got Cactus Tour."
Over the next couple months, the participating acts will be performing a series of shows to raise money to fund the trip. The first, which doubled as a premiere party for The Pork Torta's latest music video, was held at the Poblano Factory on Aug. 3, and the second takes place this weekend.
At 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., three of the five acts making the trip in October — Otherly Love, The Pork Torta, and Andrew Collberg — will perform. While admission to the 21-and-older event is free, donations to help with travel expenses are highly encouraged.
For more information about the benefit show, head to hotelcongress.com/club or call 622-8848. For further details about the tour, look for We Got Cactus Tour 2013 on Facebook and YouTube, where a nifty little promo video has been posted.
Several years ago, the Rialto Theatre booked a band that few people had heard of at the time, but that it felt so strongly about that it offered a money-back guarantee. That band was the Avett Brothers, who seem to be doing pretty well for themselves these days.
This week the Rialto is offering up the same deal for its Charles Bradley show.
I'm guessing that, like the Avetts back then, many people are still unfamiliar with Bradley. You have the power to change that by buying a ticket, which you should do immediately.
Bradley is a retro-leaning soul singer in the tradition of Otis Redding and others of his ilk and a powerhouse of a live performer. He's one of the shining lights of the retro-soul and funk revival largely spearheaded by the Daptone Records label, which released his latest album, Victim of Love, earlier this year. Trust me on this one: If you like vintage soul music, buy a ticket and take the ride. You've literally got nothing to lose.
Charles Bradley performs at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 8 p.m. next Thursday, Aug. 22. Tickets for the all-ages show are $15 in advance, $17 on the day of the show. For more info, head to rialtotheatre.com or call 740-1000.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Stones Throw Soul Tour featuring Peanut Butter Wolf, Dam-Funk, The Stepkids and more at Club Congress on Sunday, Aug. 18; Livers of Steel Tour featuring Reckless Kelly, Micky & the Motorcars, and Wade Bowen at Plush on Wednesday, Aug. 21; Black Cherry Raw (burlesque with a live band) presents Boob Tube on Friday, Aug. 16, at Surly Wench Pub; Schwayze, Lil Debbie, and Jake Broido at The Rock on Sunday, Aug. 18; Tweens, Lenguas Largas, and Burning Palms at Club Congress next Thursday, Aug. 22; Karma Breakdown CD-release party with Mellow Bellow at Solar Culture Gallery on Friday, Aug. 16; King Clone tour kickoff with La Cerca and Liila at Plush next Thursday, Aug. 22; Fort Worth and Black Irish Texas at Surly Wench Pub on Saturday, Aug. 17.
There are lots more great shows around town this week, so do yourself a favor and check out our listings sections for the big picture.